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19/11/01
Help for pet victims of Pentagon attack
From Washington DC, USA

A humane society based in Reston, Washington DC, is doing its part to help those affected by the September 11 terrorist attacks, by providing for the needs of victims' pets and offering a foster program to military personnel.

Paws and Claws Animal Rescue, a non-profit organisation incorporated in February of this year, is working with relief agencies, including the American Red Cross, to make its free services known to local victims of the terrorist attacks and their families or relatives who are now looking after orphaned pets.

With bereaved family members now overwhelmed with funeral arrangements and overdue bills, Paws and Claws hopes to make the burden at least a little lighter by providing free assistance for pet care needs, said charity president and Reston resident Suzette Conlon.

"It's a small thing in the whole scope of things, but it's just one less thing that they have to worry about," she said.

The group recently received a call from a woman who had lost her husband in the Pentagon attack and wanted to adopt a dog for some companionship. Conlon said Paws and Claws will not only help her find a dog but also try to make the adoption experience as stress-free as possible.

Services available to victims and their families includes funding for pet care needs like routine vet appointments, shot updates, spay and neuter procedures, surgeries or treatments for medical conditions, and food and supplies.

Orphaned

The group will also assist pet owners with pet training or problem solving, help new pets adjust to households and find homes for orphaned pets. Conlon said some victims of the Pentagon attack were the sole caretakers of their pets, and the need for new homes could increase as relatives of the victims must decide whether they can take care of a new pet.

In an effort to bring some holiday cheer to victims of the terrorism, Paws and Claws is also collecting items for holiday gift baskets for pets.

The organisation recommends that military personnel called to duty try to make arrangements with family or friends to take care of their pets, but for anyone who cannot make such arrangements, Paws and Claws will provide a temporary home for their pets for up to 24 months.

Supported by individual donations, Paws and Claws was founded to help pets in need, provide foster homes and educate pet owners on the need for spaying and neutering.

The organisation is headed by Conlon and vice president Kim Cogle, also a Reston resident. The two met about five years ago while doing rescue work for other organisations.

Paws and Claws has had a stand at pet superstores Petsmart in Sterling and Petco in Tysons Corner, Reston to collect toys and treats for the holiday pet gift baskets. The group also plans to have tables set up at other pet stores around the area. Shoppers will be provided with a list of items for the baskets, which will be delivered in December.

If you would like to offer a donation to the organisation, please call Suzette Conlon on: 001-703-689-0500 or e-mail skofod@aol.com. Donations may be sent to Paws and Claws, P.O. Box 2504, Reston, Va. 20195.